Tokyo School Life
Spring is in the air and with it, a new season of love blooms. At least, that’s what our character thinks at the start of Tokyo School Life. However, things don’t always go as expected. In the story, you take control of a foreign exchange student who moves to Japan for 2 months to study. You meet three girls who are staying at the same shrine as you and whom you’ll be getting close to over the next few months.
As the game starts, you’re introduced to the three girls that you’re going to be staying with over the next 2 months. The first girl you meet is Karin Yayoi, a strong-willed and hard-working girl who’s working to fulfill her dreams of becoming an idol. Next, you’re introduced to Aoi Hazuki, a short girl with a large heart that fulfills a motherly role for the “family” that lives together. Finally, there’s Sakura Minatsugi, a quiet but friendly girl with whom you share an interest in manga and anime. These three make up the “family” that you’ll be joining for the duration of your stay.
As far as gameplay is concerned, Tokyo School Life uses a very typical visual novel style. The player makes choices over the course of the game that gives you access to different endings. As an example, you’re given a simple choice at the beginning of the game as to what kind of food you want to eat. While relatively mundane, a choice like this will progress you towards one of the different endings in the game. Each ending has a different story and gives deeper insight into the character whose ending you chose. In terms of playtime, depending on the choices that you made, going through one of the routes will take approximately 1-2 hours. This also will be affected by how fast you read, as well as how long you let the characters talk.
The three primary characters are all fully voiced with each being distinct and memorable. Their voices fit with their personality, helping you become immersed in the medium. If you don’t want to listen to the voices, you have the option to control both the volume of the characters and which voices you want to hear. The music is nice, fitting well with the moods that the game sets. Each character also has a unique, personalized soundtrack that plays when you talk to them. The music is fitting while also being non-obtrusive, and lines up well with the art of the game.
Each of the characters has a unique and distinct design that gives more information into their character. Small, subtle cues help to tie each one to their interests and history. For instance, Aoi wears a Tanuki pin in her hair, foreshadowing her love of the animal. Contrast is shown between the different character models too. Aoi’s model bobs up and down in the mornings like she has a bottomless well of energy. Sakura, on the other hand, is often shown nearly falling asleep, providing character development without spelling it out. While there are very few different poses that the characters take over the course of the game, there exist some glamour shots that help to accentuate the memorable moments. The backgrounds are largely blurred without too much detail to help bring focus to the main characters as the story progresses.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Tokyo School Life. The music is enjoyable and helps to accentuate the different moments throughout the game. The art style is distinct and the personality expressed through the characters and the expressions helped to immerse me in the world. While relatively short, the characters help to hold interest through the whole experience. While people looking for a longer story-based experience may be disappointed in the length of Tokyo School Life, if you’re looking for a quick game to hold you over for an afternoon, this is the game for you.
Tokyo School Life
Tokyo School Life is a short and sweet game with a fun story and endearing characters but those looking for a longer story may be disappointed in the length